Countless people across the globe dream of coming to America to obtain an education for themselves and their future generations. The diverse population in California clearly illustrates this desire to immigrate and find new opportunities. One reason why the world covets American education is that we apply technology and innovational teaching strategies that deviate from the common lecture based classes we see throughout foreign schools. Technology helps teachers adapt to each student’s individual needs, offers a greater variety of outside material to support the curriculum, and also assists in developing collaborative and independent study among students; therefore, the benefits of investing in personal devices for students outweigh any monetary costs.
Investing in such technology would result in personalized learning that caters to each individual student, an feature that would undoubtedly benefit schools. This would develop a blended style of learning; with both in-person and online instruction, allowing students to branch off to work at their own pace using the laptops or reaching out to their teacher for more in-depth explanations at the smart board. This provides “solitude [for students] while they work” or more intensive practices with the guiding hand of an instructor. According to both teachers and students, there has been improvement in both engagement and behavior after implementing the technological instruments. (Source I) This helps the issue of the achievement gap, allowing high performing students to work at their own pace, stimulating their minds with challenging material rather than sleep or feel bored in class, and also provides individual assistance to the struggling students so they feel less frustrated from falling behind.
Personal devices also provide much more access to online resources, organizational tools, and more medias for learning and teaching. Rather than supplying students with several heavy and expensive textbooks that become outdated each year, purchasing one pdf file that can be distributed to hundreds of students digitally easily and cheaply. Also, the Internet provides different documents, presentations, tutorial videos, practice tests and more, all easily accessible to students with their own personal devices. Teachers can also utilize these resources as aids in instruction and explanation of a specific subject. Personal devices also serve as a means of organization, allowing students a single place to store all their documents and assignments, write down homework and plan out long-term projects, and even turn in or print necessary materials. Students have reported that these devices and the ability to email assignments to their teachers have helped them stay more organized, and also the ability to review the same assignments at home allows them to practice more if necessary until they understand the topic fully. (Source H) Students also tend to enjoy typing more than the traditional pen and paper, which also ensures that handwriting does not negatively affect a student’s performance. (Source I) The ability to access unimaginable amounts of information and to store all work plays a key role in the success of a student. Evidence of this success can be clearly seen in the fact that schools employing personal devices report higher increases in college enrollment, college attendance plans, and graduation rate than schools without this technology. (Source F) Clearly, the employment of new technology only benefits students and schools.
Employing technology as a tool to for teachers and students also promotes collaborative and individual work. For students working on long-term projects, they must work together and all participate equally in order to perform well in the layout of Fairchild Wheeler, where the school system is similar to a college campus. This format also employs the idea of the “third teacher”, where the teacher sets up a comfortable learning environment for the students and provides them with the sources of information they need to learn, rather than a traditional lecture based class. (Source G) In this way, the students must either use the resources provided to work individually or collaborate with other students, and if need be, ask for assistance from their instructor. These benefits trace back to blended learning, and the mixture of learning styles to create the best unique formula for each student to learn at a comfortable speed and fulfill individual needs. This provides a much more hands on and interactive experience, preparing students for real-life work situations in which human relations and independent work are both crucial in high performance. The addition of technology to classrooms would also benefit students by allowing them access to tools they will likely need to have knowledge of in college and their future careers. Being able to type and create documents on a laptop remains crucial in many fields of work such as science, engineering, and marketing.
Some opponents of the technology fear that teachers will not feel comfortable changing their style, or that they will not adapt well to the changes made. In reality, although the transition may require time and effort, educators conclude that it makes an immediate difference in the classroom, and just calls for training and adjustment. According to Erin Walle, a blended learning coach, understanding personalized learning is really the crucial step in improving schools to best develop student potential, which they do during training for teachers in the classrooms. Meyer, an English teacher, agrees that although some teachers struggle more due to their varying comfort levels with technology, she believes “it makes teaching easier”. (Source H) In the end, although teachers may have difficulty at first implementing technology and training teachers will help achieve the ultimate goal of education: improving student experience and preparing them to enter society as functional adults. Furthermore, as the world changes, schools also evolve to modernize. Education in turn must also keep up. Just like how schools changed from a one classroom setting with one teacher instructing all age levels to divided grades and instructors based on subject, technology is becoming more and more present in everyday life as well as classrooms. Rather than avoiding it and putting our efforts in denying students from using it, we should follow the natural changes time brings and teach both teachers and students how to use technology to their advantage.
Personal devices as tools for students not only will improve their performance, but also their ability to cooperate, think outside the box, work independently, and organize themselves. By integrating such technology into our schools, we are merely changing with the times to best fulfill both the needs of the students and prepare them for the demands of society. In no way will merely implementing such devices fix all issues in our educational system, but it will begin the process to help us provide the best education possible for the children in the United States.